Gortyna was the capital of a Roman province and the seat of the first Christian bishop of Crete. During the Roman period it was the chief city of Crete—its population may have reached 100,000 people. The site is huge—its city walls are about 6 mi. long!
Many believe that Paul made a Fourth Journey (not recorded in scripture) after his first Roman imprisonment and in the process visited Crete. According to Titus 1:5 Paul left Titus on Crete to deal with some church affairs that were still outstanding.
The Basilica of St. Titus at Gortyna preserves the memory of Titus’ ministry on the island (Titus 1:5).
At Gortyna there is also a famous well-preserved Greek law code called “The Twelve Tablets” that dates to the fifth century B.C. It is written in “boustrophedon” style—(“as the ox plows”) namely from “right to left” and then “left to right.”
Many of the original stones are now reused in a wall of the second century Odeon at Gortyna. At the times of Paul’s and Titus’ visits the code would have been in its original format.
To view additional images of Gortyna Click Here.
For introductory information on Paul’s Fourth Journey see the map and commentary by 1 Timothy 2 in The NIV Study Bible and the Introduction to Titus.